The Olympic Symbol - a logo enjoying special protection

The Olympic Games reach billions of people in more than 200 countries across the globe. That is one of the main reasons for the high degree of brand awareness with respect to all the Olympic symbols. Everybody associates those symbols with the values of the games: fairness, respect, equality, friendship, courage, inspiration and excellence. They are more than just logos! The International Olympic Committee (IOC) protects the so-called Olympic properties to prevent third parties to make an unauthorized association with the Games. All the rights of the Olympic Properties belong exclusively to the IOC. The logos are all registered - among others - under WIPO’s Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks, which shows that the IOC protects its properties with the ordinary means of trademark protection. But, they also benefit from the Nairobi Treaty, a special legal treaty, adopted in 1981 and administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Nairobi Treaty protects the most famous symbol, the five interlocking rings that represent the coming together of the five continents. The treaty obliges every state that has ratified it to refuse the registration as a mark and to prohibit the use for commercial purposes of any sign consisting of the Olympic symbol(s) by unauthorized third parties. Source/Picture: WIPO and